94) Mid-day Dialysis and Venerating Mitch

January 23, 2007

El Milagro:
I’m driving across town in the rain at 10:30 am because I’ve arranged to attend dialysis in the middle of the day today so I could attend a surprise 30th anniversary party for one of the stalwarts of youth services in Austin; old Mitch. Going in for dialysis after an hour or so at the office is a bit strange. There are people here I’ve never seen before so it is kinda like going to dialysis in a different city. The TV’s are all turned to soap operas and most of the patients are one-legged men (it seems). I am a bit out of place and the staff recognizes it. They say things like, “What’re you doin here?” and “You like it so much yer coming in early, huh?” and “Want an extra fix?”. We’re jokesters all, since I say things like, “Just an oil change and wash my windows please.”

I don’t quite know what to do with my time today. I am NOT going to watch TV at this time of the day. I settle in to plugging my ears with music from KUT over my own little radio and settle in for a slow four hours. Some reading of Winik’s book (see Post # 84), some napping, and some thinking about the world without Insoo (see Post # 91). Marion Winik has written a bit about death… losing her man and leaving Austin because of the memories. She describes emptiness and its feeling creeping into locations that formerly had good feelings attached to them. Or, maybe she said something like having that empty sense follow her into locations where she used to feel good… going out to eat in a place you used to go with the person lost and feeling totally out of place there and ultimately having to move outa town.

When I was training in Abilene on Monday I mentioned Insoo’s passing* and it motivated me to really try to get her ideas infused into the participants. Plus I drank some very strong coffee. I felt like I had to take some responsibility for doing Insoo’s job from now on. Those are big shoes (metaphorically, since she had tiny little feet) to fill and I realize I am not the one to do that really. But, thoughts of her did charge me up and I could hallucinate now that back on Monday her spirit was within me as I did parts of the training. I could hallucinate that now but I won’t…. it’s just too weird. Leave it that I had her in part of my mind as I was doing the work and I did try to do a job that she would’ve been proud of. And, I think the group, based on feedback, thought it was a good training on solution-focused family work. (I pretty much stuck to the Solution-Focused ideas of Insoo rather than expand out to other people's ideas.)

Meanwhile, back at my mid-day dialysis, I woke up from some fuzzy dreams and it was time to unhook and go back to work. I mustered up all my energy and headed back to the office for an hour or so before picking up Liz and heading to the Broken Spoke** for the Mitch thing.

When we got to the Spoke we immediately heard that our friend Steve had been temporarily delayed and they asked me to present a flag which flew over the capitol today to Mitch, which I was happy to do, although I wasn’t quite sure what to say about that. “Here is a proclamation and a flag, Mitch. Long may it fly free”, or something. In the actual presentation, I added, “If you want to, I’ll help you put up a flagpole in your back yard and he mentioned how nice the wooden box is. All in all, it was a great ceremony with lots of funny stories and a bit of Texas speechifying (from Thomas). There were some participants who thought Mitch was actually surprised and some who thought not. Everyone seemed to enjoy the event. Liz and I stayed for the honors and left early to get some Chinese food on the way home.

Notes: In at 75.0 and out at 72.8 Kgs.

* Read Insoo's Obit at The Brief Therapy Center website at http://www.brief-therapy.org/
** Explore the Broken Spoke at http://www.brokenspokeaustintx.com/

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